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LMMSTRP asks for extra eyes out on the water during cold weather
DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND AN ILL OR INJURED SEA TURTLE, DOLPHIN OR MANATEE?
Contact Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program, the equivalent to 911 for these animals
December 7, 2010 New Orleans, LA
As winter weather approaches the south, some marine animals may find themselves in trouble. Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program (LMMSTRP) is asking the everyday citizen to be their eyes and ears while enjoying the beautiful waters of Louisiana.
"Cold stunning season for sea turtles, dolphins and manatees is upon us here in Louisiana and the animals need everyone’s help,” says Michele Kelley, state coordinator for LMMSTRP and Audubon Nature Institute. “It is important that if someone sees an injured, ill or deceased marine animal to call us as quickly as possible so we can respond and provide evaluation.”
Cold stunning occurs when the water temperature drops too quickly and the animal is unable to retreat to a warmer area. Sea turtles are at a high risk since they are reptiles and depend on their environment to control their body temperature. Cold stunned animals become so lethargic that they do not eat and can appear dead.
LMMSTRP responds to animal strandings throughout the entire state of Louisiana. To promote the conservation of our oceans’ wildlife, LMMSTRP uses aerial surveys of waterways, lakes, and the coast by plane, beach walks, necropsies data collection, response to live strandings and rehabilitation of live animals. The goal is to find and humanely treat the animals and prepare them for a successful release back into their natural environment
LMMSTRP is a volunteer organization run by Kelley based out of Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, LA. This project is funded in part through the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Prescott Grant Program, private and public donations. LMMSTRP rescues, cares for and relocates injured, ill or out-of-habitat marine mammals and sea turtles.
To report a marine mammal or sea turtle in distress in the Louisiana area, call 504-235-3005 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some Helpful Tips from LMMSTRP:
If You Encounter a Live Marine Mammal or Sea Turtle
~IMMEDIATELY call (504) 235-3005 and tell stranding personnel about a live animal stranding and give a precise location.
~Do not return the animal to the water.
~Keep people and pets away from it until professional help arrives.
~Keep the animal cool and wet during hot months by splashing water onto the skin, but AVOID getting water in the blowhole. In the cold winter months shield the animal from the wind.
~If it is a dolphin apply a wet cloth to the animal, taking care not to cover the blowhole, dorsal fin, flippers or tail.
~If it is a sea turtle apply a wet cloth over the shell but do not cover the animal’s head.
~Keep your hands away from its mouth, and keep your body away from its tail section.
If You Encounter a Dead Marine Mammal or Sea Turtle
~Call (504) 235-3005 to report the deceased animal and give the general location.
~Leave the carcass just as you found it—do not touch it or remove any parts of the animal.
~If the animal has been spray painted with bright orange X, the animal has already been reported to authorities and samples have been taken. You do NOT need to call to report it.
Media Contact: Meghan Calhoun
Audubon Nature Institute